Liner notes to The Unstruck Melody by Adam St. James
After nearly 30 years in and around the guitar industry, I'm still thrilled when I unearth an "unknown" virtuoso hiding out, woodshedding his tail off in some out of the way corner of the globe. It's happened to me a few times – and only a few times – that I've wandered into some club and "discovered" somebody. My last find, six years ago, quickly landed a deal with Steve Vai's Favored Nations label, placing him in very rare company indeed.
I believe Eric Mantel is right up there with that whole shredder gang – a player with not only chops to spare, but the soul and touch of a true "guitar master." But the fact that Eric is equally at home throwing down in the vein of Vai-Johnson-Satriani, or rippin' it up Nashville session-star style, or soulfully grooving through a set of jazz changes, or blazing through some fiery blues rock Jimi Hendrix-style, or even with the practiced introspection of a nylon-stringer pulling off the most demanding classical moves only adds to the "WOW" factor. And his singing – not to mention songwriting – on the outstanding pop-rock gems on this landmark disc is impressive in its own right.
Eric has been amazing Chicago and Midwest audiences for many years, as I found after moving here not too long ago. His debut album, MONTAGE, chock full of blistering riffs and showcasing an already jaw-dropping talent, appeared years prior to the ascendance of the aforementioned shred-Gods. That he may have led that pack out of the starting gate is not unthinkable, had the ears of the industry been turned in Eric's direction before now.
But good things do come to those who wait. With The Unstruck Melody, this largely undiscovered guitar virtuoso and musical daredevil-wizard stands poised and ready to make the leap to international stardom. And with this CD in hand, you're now poised to catch him. Enjoy! - Adam St. James, editor Guitar.com www.adamstjames.com